As we head into 2021, marketing leaders, are you ready to ready to prove how you’re making a difference?
Through this year’s uncertainty, there’s one constant: people want to do business with brands that are committed to doing good in the world.
I’m so heartened by this change.
First, it’s up to you, marketing leaders, to take purposeful action to make a difference, then you’ll have to prove how you’re acting to make good on your promise. The challenge is sharing your mission without bragging or being inauthentic.
Here’s a hint: when you tell a story about your cause, include your people.
Start by telling a story about how you’re making a difference and find a person or two who are living your mission. Look for inspiration by following the example of companies that have been doing this for way longer than the 6 months that we’ve been in the pandemic such as Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Chobani and Salesforce. How has their commitment to do better in their slices of the world made a difference in the lives of people who interact with the brand?
For some ideas, my strategic partner, Judy Kalvin, and I share three secrets and stories to show how we’ve put people in the center of B2B storytelling in the Marketing Smarts Podcast “How to Humanize Your Brand Storytelling.“
Take a listen and you’ll learn:
? How to make thought leadership more helpful
? How to turn your founder story into one of your biggest assets
? How to use employees as characters to tell the story of your purpose
Let us know what you think.
And, if you want to find out how to tell a story that makes your brand more personal, reach out.
Big Brands Need to Feel Custom-Made
Hijacking a Trend
I love things that are hand-made and have schlepped through more craft shows than I can count. I now consider myself to be a master of the strum stick and a Kettle corn connoisseur, that salty-sweet popcorn sold in gigantic bags at every craft show imaginable. When I discovered Etsy.com, it was love at first crocheted baby blanket.
The explosion of hand-made and custom-made sites like Etsy.com and CustomMade.com cater to people like me. But the cool cash that venture capitalists are putting behind these sites (Etsy just grabbed another $40 million in a round of financing) tells me that, duh, I am not alone.
It makes sense that handmade, custom-made, monogrammed, personalized things are booming now. In our high-tech, low-touch, mall-ified world, we all crave something that’s made just for us.
If I was developing PR and marketing programs for brands that are far removed from this trend, for example Quaker Oats, or Toyota Prius, or Aveeno, I would be asking: can we hijack this passion? What can we own about hand-made?
Duct Tape did this brilliantly with its duct-tape prom dress initiative launched a few years back. Sharpie does this well, too. But those are tools and, not to detract from the brilliance of the prom dress idea and the fun of Sharpie’s, it makes sense to see what you can make with products that help make other things. But when your brand is about warm cereal, saving gas while enjoying the open road, or eliminating wrinkles, the answer is not so clear.
To get started, imagine what your product would be if it were custom-made. Custom-made oatmeal? Sure. Create a custom-make-your-own oatmeal bar with all the fixings, put it in an unexpected place, have oatmeal fans share their favorite mix-ins. Have contests for the most fattening, the healthiest, the sweetest, the most savory. Invite home ec teachers to judge. (Do they exist anymore? If not, they should). Make an app. You get the idea.
Custom-made Prius? Maybe it’s not about the car, perhaps Prius has discovered that their customers are incredibly loyal, buying not just one, but many. Reward them. Make a contest of it. For every dollar saved on gas, maybe they earn points towards something planet-saving and custom-made. A partnership with Custom-made.com? Woodworking classes? Just thinking. Isn’t it fun?
Beauty brands like Aveeno might take another route, hitching their wagon to the custom-made star by organizing knitting or sewing or painting classes for bloggers. Creating how-to videos and sharing on YouTube. Taking a custom-made message to farmers and flea markets that dot high-end neighborhoods on the weekend, co-sponsoring programs with Fiskars or Brother sewing machines. Or, reversing that thinking, setting up workshops with large pharmacy chains.
The creative possibilities are there; but the custom-made essence must remain in order for the program to authentically connect with consumers.
Thinking about how your brand can connect with a white hot trend is a worthwhile brainstorming exercise and can result in a memorable campaign. What trends have you hijacked that are strategically aligned with your consumer? Remember, Food Trucks are so 2011. Look ahead. What’s coming up? Share your story here.
Company B Client in the News: Sherry Orel of Brand Connections, Get Inside a Customer’s Mind at the Moment Your Message Appears, AdAge
With over 20 years of marketing experience, Brand Connections’ President, Sherry Orel, knows a thing or two about brand messaging. She also know the most effective approach to delivering a brand’s message requires more than clever copy and creative; it’s about timing too.
It’s no wonder she captured the editor’s attention at AdAge; her smart take on dwell-time media is not only insightful, but lively too.
Read this article in the “CMO Strategy” section of AdAge.